When was the last time your dog or cat went to the dentist? Did you know that taking care of your pet’s teeth is actually one of the best ways to protect their overall health? Dogs and cats have dental needs very similar to people, and consistent oral hygiene also has many of the same benefits. Today, we’re going to share a few interesting facts and helpful tips about taking care of your pet’s “smile.”
Pet Dental Facts!
- Dogs are born with 28 deciduous (baby) teeth and cats start with 26.
- They should have all of their permanent teeth by about 6 months of age. Dogs generally have about 42 permanent teeth while cats have under 30.
- Sometimes, the permanent teeth can become stuck behind baby teeth that haven’t fallen out, and this can misalign the permanent teeth, leading to increased tartar formation and gum irritation. The best way to take care of this is to have these teeth removed by a veterinarian.
Why Pet Dental Care is Important
Taking care of your pet’s teeth is better for both you and your furry friend. By getting their teeth regularly cleaned and providing a balanced diet, your pet will have much fresher breath, which makes snuggling much more pleasant for owners. Regular dental care is also great for them beyond their teeth, as their dental health can directly affect their heart, liver, kidneys, intestines, and joints. Just like with humans, the health of the mouth is one of the greatest indicators of overall health.
Signs Your Pet May Have Dental Disease
- Persistently bad breath
- Swollen mouth, gums, or jaws
- Stained or discolored teeth
- Red, swollen gums
- A loss of appetite
- Foul smelling saliva
- Teeth that “chatter” (especially with cats)
- Permanent tooth loss
- Lack of energy
- For cats: They stop grooming themselves
How a Dental Cleaning Works for Your Pet
Of course, the particulars of your pet’s dental cleaning will be different depending on their size, age, and species! The best thing to do is follow the advice of your veterinarian. They’ll let you know how often they should come in for a cleaning, as well as how you can make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Generally, it may entail:
- The entire process can take a few hours, so you’ll start by dropping your pet off at the vet in the morning after having them fast the night before.
- Pre-dental blood work will be performed to see if your pet has any underlying problems that need to be treated and might make it dangerous to use anesthesia.
- Possible pre-treatment with antibiotics depending on the results of their bloodwork.
- Your pet will then be placed under anesthesia if the vet thinks it is safe to do so.
- During the actual procedure, your pet’s teeth will be cleaned, and they’ll also be checked for cavities, broken teeth, and periodontal (gum) disease. Your vet may remove damaged teeth if necessary.
- Your pet will be gently woken up, and you’ll likely be able to pick them up that same day.
Give Your Pet a Reason to Smile
Pets, just like many people, don’t necessarily enjoy going to the dentist, but it’s one of the simplest and most effective ways to ensure their lifelong health and happiness, and that’s what truly matters. This month, be sure to talk to your vet and ask if they think it’s time for your furry friend to have a dental cleaning.
About Pioneer Greens Dentistry
The team at Pioneer Greens Dentistry, headed by Dr. Chris and Dr. Claire Haag, have been providing state-of-the-art, family-oriented dentistry for the people of Lincoln for years. They simply love helping their patients’ smiles shine, and when they go home at the end of the day, their absolute favorite thing to do is relax with their variety of pets. To learn more about everything you’ve read here, they can be contacted via www.pioneergreensdentistry.com or by phone at (402) 483-7502.